Salis, Loredana (2014) “The root of all evil”: Frank McGuinness’ translations of Greek drama. Studi irlandesi, Vol. 4 , p. 145-160. eISSN 2239-3978. Article.
Whether in political propaganda or in creative the myths of ancient Greece have long attracted scholars, writers and audiences from Ireland. Over the past forty years, a wealth of adaptations of plays by Sophocles and Euripides have been produced, which bring back to life ancient tales of heroes and heroines, in settings at times distinctively local and contemporary, at times deliberately universal. Field Day’s contributions represent a typical instance of the former approach to the classics, while other Irish playwrights have used Greek myths to reflect upon questions that are not exclusively Irish. Their plays may have an Irish echo, and some are even set in Ireland, but their main preoccupation lies beyond geographical borders. Frank McGuinness belongs to this second group of playwrights. To date, he has reworked and staged five Greek plays with great audience and critical acclaim. This paper locates his translations of Sophocles and Euripides within the tradition of classical tragedy use in Ireland at the crossroads between the local and the global and at the search of what he calls ‘the root of all evil’ with special attention to his Oedipus (2008) and Helen (2009).
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